It’s ok if you can’t do inversions.
Search hashtag #yoga on Instagram and you’ll find millions of photos of beautiful young women and men doing inversions. They make it look so effortless and it’s really not for the majority of us.
I’ve attended arm balance and inversion workshops over the years with the intent of building confidence while upside down. I love them! As a student at one of these classes I feel adventuresome and confident because it’s safe and everyone around me is trying new poses, laughing, falling and having fun. I try the coolest inversions when I’m in a workshop and when it’s finished I set an intention of incorporating them into my practice. Then I hit up a vinyasa class and it’s a completely different story. I’m nervous, self conscious and suddenly all I remember is a headstand.
I’ve fallen several times while in a packed class. I manage to knock over my water bottle and neighbors, of course they are made with stainless steel and create the loudest crash possible. All at once I want to crawl inside of my water bottle and hide. One memorable occasion on a chilly Saturday morning I didn’t stick my inversion and toppled onto my neighbor, the instructor affectionately said “we’ve got a rock and roller in the house.” Thanks.
During my vinyasa class today we had two opportunities for inversions. Instead of painfully trying to invert I get into deep stretch and breath deeply. When we stretch and you feel pain the instructor will remind you to breath into the sensation, at that que I realize that I’m holding my breath and I slowly take a big sips of air in and out.
So, I can’t flip into a cool headstand or handstand, but it doesn’t matter. When I feel like inverting I will invert and when I don’t I will do something else.